By Dr. Tanvi Tijoriwala, ND
When there is persistent joint pain occurring in one or more of our joints, we often term that condition as arthritis. That is because arthritis when defined means “the pain, stiffness and inflammation of joints.”
But did you know there are many types of arthritis?
In this article, we discuss two of the most common types of arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. They may both show up as pain in the joints however, the root cause of these conditions and how they are treated naturopathically are very different.
What is it?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the typical arthritis you see in older individuals. It is usually caused because of overuse of certain joints that develops over a long period of time.
Osteoarthritis typically presents in one side of the body. For example, if a person has osteoarthritis of the knee, usually only one knee is affected. This is the biggest distinguishing factor from rheumatoid arthritis which typically affects both sides of the joints simultaneously.
With osteoarthritis, people may notice pain and stiff in their joints, but they often do not have any swelling. The pain and stiffness get worse as the day progresses because the joints affected with OA are used during daily activity.
Osteoarthritis commonly shows up in the finger joints closest to the fingernails, larger joints like the knees and hips or the spine.
Naturopathically, OA can be treated with several different modalities. The main goal of OA treatment is to reduce pain and stiffness in the joint and prevent further wear and tear. Some of the treatments used for OA therapy are:
What is it?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the type of arthritis that can begin at any age. Unlike OA, RA has a more systemic effect because it is autoimmune and inflammatory in nature. Autoimmunity means that our body is negatively affecting its own joints which causes the pain, stiffness and swelling. The stiffness associated with RA is worst in the morning upon waking up.
As mentioned above RA affects both sides of the joints and often involve the wrist, elbows, and fingertips.
RA is diagnosed through a combination of physical exams, blood tests and imaging.
Naturopathically, there are several factors that are addressed during the treatment of RA.
If you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and want more information on natural therapies to reduce pain and stiffness, book an appointment with our naturopathic doctor Dr. Tanvi Tijoriwala, ND here.
Quick summary chart:
|Age at which the condition starts||It may begin any time in life.||It usually begins later in life.|
|Speed of onset||Relatively rapid, over weeks to months||Slow, over years|
|Joint symptoms||Joints are painful, swollen, and stiff.||Joints ache and may be tender but have little or no swelling.|
|Pattern of joints that are affected||It often affects small and large joints on both sides of the body (symmetrical), such as both hands, both wrists or elbows, or the balls of both feet.||Symptoms often begin on one side of the body and may spread to the other side. Symptoms begin gradually and are often limited to one set of joints, usually the finger joints closest to the fingernails or the thumbs, large weight-bearing joints (hips, knees), or the spine.|
|Duration of morning stiffness||Morning stiffness usually lasts longer than 1 hour.||Morning stiffness usually lasts less than 1 hour. Stiffness returns at the end of the day or after periods of activity.|
|Presence of symptoms affecting the whole body (systemic)||Frequent fatigue and a general feeling of being ill are present.||Whole-body symptoms are n|
Ref: Obtained from the University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine.